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Aviation Info

Helicopter bucket

Bucket commands and operations

The bucket operation course is designed to improve the crew chief’s skills in guiding the pilot to drop and scoop water with precision as well as the efficiency of communications between crew chief and pilot.

 I. Personal mission gear requirements

 II. Bucket installation and testing procedure

 III. Command guidelines

        1. Command terminology

        2. Operation procedure

 IV. Emergency procedure

 V. Discussion
Bucket installation and testing procedure

1. Inspection:

  A. Check the exteriors for any damage.

  B. Check the cables for any broken or entangled wires.

Inspection 1


  C. Check if the ballast weight comes loose.

  D. Check the control head for damage.

  E. Check for any loosening hardware or parts.

Inspection 2


2. Installation test:

  A. Ballast weight faces up and the nameplate of the control head face forward.

  B. Mount on the hoist at the belly.

Installation test 1


  C. Plug in the power.

  D. Test the electric and manual release of belly hoist.

  E. Test the water dropping switch of the bucket.

  F. Warp the joint of power socket with tape.

Installation test 2

Command guidelines

A.Command terminology   

  • Commands:

      Bucket touching water; bucket in water

      Bucket full; bucket off water

      Bucket open; bucket not open

      Bucket swinging


  B. Operation procedure

  1. Choose an appropriate water source. (the water shall be deep enough to allow the bucket to submerge completely; no F.O.D. is allowed in the water source)
  2. Lead the aircraft to the water source and prepare for bucket operation.
  3. The bucket is touching water (bucket touching water).
  4. The bucket is in the water (bucket in water; bucket full).
  5. Pull the bucket out of the water (bucket off water).
  6. Open the opening of bucket (bucket open).
Emergency procedure
  1. Motor under power in operation

     A. Leave 5psi of room for operation

     B. Stop and release water.

  2. Snagging object on the ground

       Eject the bucket.

  3. Cables entangled

     A. Release the water.

     B. Guide the aircraft to land (troubleshoot)

  4. 4. Engine failure in operation

     A. Release bucket immediately.

     B. Initiate emergency operation procedure.